I spoke on a Land­ing Page Opti­miza­tion panel at Pub­Con in Las Vegas last week, and the big learn­ing I came away with is that more peo­ple are test­ing! It was pretty excit­ing to poll the audi­ence on who’s cur­rently test­ing and see well over 50% of the room raise their hands. Of those who weren’t, at least half raised their hands to the next ques­tion of who was plan­ning on begin­ning within the next year.

That’s really encour­ag­ing news, espe­cially in a down­turn econ­omy. It shows that mar­keters are real­iz­ing that test­ing is one of the few strate­gies that truly enable you to do more with less. Instead of hav­ing to invest lin­ear amounts of money to acquire traf­fic, you can instead invest your ideas and hypothe­ses to increase con­ver­sion and rev­enue on your site.

I often find that the Q&A is the most inter­est­ing and engag­ing part of a ses­sion. It’s the clos­est we get to under­stand­ing what’s really on the minds of mar­keters today, and what they were hop­ing to learn from those of us on the panel. One of the ques­tions that stuck in my mind was, “What are good strate­gies for opti­miz­ing social media traf­fic going to land­ing pages?”

To be hon­est, I didn’t have a great answer because I haven’t seen many tests involv­ing social media traf­fic. Maybe it’s because we don’t have cus­tomers who are invest­ing much in social media yet. But I thought about it more on the plane, and then at home, and I think the answer lies in going back to the stan­dard best prac­tices of first defin­ing what your suc­cess event will be, and then form­ing a hypoth­e­sis around how to improve it.

For exam­ple, if you told me that you ran a con­tent site and wanted to increase page views, I’d say that those who come from social media prob­a­bly have a higher like­li­hood of shar­ing con­tent with friends. My test idea might be to test pro­mot­ing shar­ing links higher up on the page, or repeat­edly through­out the arti­cle. But if you told me that you ran a retail site and you wanted to increase orders, I might try to pro­mote highly-rated prod­ucts based on the hypoth­e­sis that social media vis­i­tors place a greater pre­mium on the opin­ions of peers.

Another ques­tion I got was, “Okay, you talk a lot about test­ing, but how do I test on my site? Do you sell a prod­uct?” Yikes, the dreaded ven­dor pitch trap! I have to admit there was a bit of spas­tic prod­uct nam­ing as I tried to give a very neu­tral answer. I strug­gle quite a bit with the bal­ance of giv­ing infor­ma­tion and opin­ions with­out sell­ing any spe­cific plat­form, both in places like Pub­Con and here in this blog. I know that you, as the reader, have come here know­ing that it’s a cor­po­rate blog run by Omni­ture, but I also think that you’re more inter­ested in learn­ing about mar­ket­ing prin­ci­ples and cus­tomer insights than about what we’re sell­ing. So I err on the side of avoid­ing the prod­uct con­ver­sa­tion com­pletely, to the detri­ment of those who are already cus­tomers. Luck­ily, my very capa­ble col­league, Brian Hawkins, has begun a blog recently about the ins and outs of Omni­ture Test&Target, so I would direct read­ers there for specifics on how to imple­ment many of the exam­ples and case stud­ies we show.

The last ques­tion I have is for you, the mar­keter who attends con­fer­ences like Pub­Con. When you go to a ses­sion about land­ing page opti­miza­tion, what are you hop­ing to hear? Are you look­ing for tac­ti­cal advice, or cus­tomer case stud­ies, or mar­ket research find­ings? Would you rather see a pre­sen­ta­tion that tells you about the lat­est mar­ket­ing strate­gies and where we see the mar­ket going, or the one that lays out 10 easy tips to try on your site today?

Kate O'
Kate O'

I thought your presentation was pitch-perfect. Personally, when I attend events like PubCon, I want a blend of customer case studies, tactical advice, and market research findings. Yours was just that. I prefer the product plugging be kept to a minimum, and I thought you did a great job of that -- you even talked about the other tools that are available besides Omniture Test&Target, which is important for the audience to give credibility to what you say. And as you know, I know my way around testing :) and your answers to questions were spot-on. Thanks for doing the presentation (even while sick!). Your co-panelists were very good, too. It was one of my favorite sessions at the show.